Local News

Wilson Businesses Try To Move Forward After Recent Area Flooding

Posted May 26, 2004

— Five years after Floyd hit, many eastern counties are still recovering from the hurricane's devastating floods. Some business owners in Wilson County said several smaller floods since then are making it tough to move forward.

Last weekend, parts of Wilson got 8 inches of rain in just two hours. The weekend storm stranded drivers, filled low-lying parking lots and flooded some homes and businesses.

"We had water from the front of the store to the back of the store, which was 6 to 8 inches all the way through," store owner Vicki Lentz said.

The water destroyed the carpet inside Lentz's clothing store. Business owners said it is the fourth time the area has flooded in the last five years.

"I feel like we just can't [catch] up from one storm. It's very frustrating, very time-consuming and very expensive," Lentz said.

The city said it is doing all it can to help. Marc Burke and his crews are busy clearing ditches and repairing drains damaged by last weekend's storm to prevent more flooding.

"There is not a lot of provisions that can be made to handle that amount of water that falls that quickly," he said.

Neighbors blame most of the problem on major development in the last decade.

"There is more concrete, no grassy areas for the water to go into," Lentz said.

Three years ago, Wilson began enforcing stricter storm runoff codes on new buildings.

"If you go and develop a forested area, then your runoff rate cannot exceed what it was before the area was developed," Burke said.

The city is now studying ways to fix pre-existing problems. People like Lentz hope it will bring changes quickly.

"If we can't get this halfway under control, the alternative would, maybe, find another location," Lentz said.

City crews said they are checking into a long list of complaints about flooded roads and property from last weekend's storm.

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